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MSCL died on TV, but lives again on video

minneapolis star tribune
October 30, 1998

MSCL died on TV, but lives again on video

No one said as much, but ``My So-Called Life'' was probably done for from the beginning. ``The first sign of trouble was the reception the network gave the pilot when we turned it in,'' recalled Marshall Herskovitz, one of its producers. ``Very mixed.''

In that initial episode, in 1994, an edgy, questioning 15-year- old named Angela Chase, played with a nicely dark naturalness by Claire Danes, dyes her hair red and says she can't look at her mother without wanting to stab her repeatedly.

Fans of the show quickly took to Angela's cogent assessments of family, life and love. But ABC remained ambivalent, and low ratings were the clincher. With a rabid following growing slowly and its producers protesting heatedly, the series expired after 19 episodes.

As they say, the good die young. But in television the good can sometimes enjoy an afterlife, and so it is with ``My So-Called Life' ': six hourlong episodes (including the pilot) will be released on video today by BMG.

Critics weren't universally in love with the series, but most acknowledged its realism and strong individual voice.

Copyright 1998 Star Tribune.

“And, you know, with your hair like that? It hurts to look at you.”

Rayanne Graff, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"